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what is an annotated bibliography

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

how do i go about it
How do I go about it?


Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.



First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your studio practice. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.



Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.



Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.


How to reference an assignment:

For the purposes of writing an essay we recommend the MLA (Modern Language Association) bibliographic conventions that are widely used in the humanities. Bibliographic conventions allow others to locate your references. MLA conventions have been assembled for almost every possible publication you would ever be likely to cite, however, the most important thing is to be consistent and make sure that you attend to the three main points (author, title, publication data).

referencing two
Referencing two:

For additional clarification, see the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (fifth edition) by Joseph Gibaldi (available in the reference section of the Building One Library 808.027GIB). You will also find the MLA conventions for citing electronic resources on the Unitec homepage.


We expect you to use footnotes throughout your writing as a means of referencing quotations and citations.


What is included in an MLA-style bibliographic entry?

In an MLA-style entry, the author’s name appears as given in the work (normally in full), every important word of the title is capitalized, the title is in italics, the publisher’s name is shortened, and the publication date is placed at the end. In MLA style, the first line of the entry is flush with the left margin, and second and subsequent lines are indented. This format helps reader’s locate author’s names in an alphabetical listing.


Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. London: Abacus, 2001.


A book by two or more authors

To cite a book by two or more authors, give their names in the same order as they appear on the title page – no necessarily in alphabetical order. Reverse only the name of the first author, add a comma and give the other name or names in normal form. Even if the authors have the same last name, state each name in full. It the persons listed on the title page are editors, translators, or compilers, place a comma (not a full stop) after the final name and add the appropriate abbreviation (ed., tran., or comp. for ‘editor(s), ‘translator(s),’ or ‘compiler(s)’).


Lupton, Ellen, and J. Abbott Miller. Design, Writing, Research: Writing on Graphic Design. New York: Kiosk, 1996.


An article in an anthology

If you are citing an essay that appears within an anthology, you need to include the page numbers of the article and the names of editor(s), translator(s), or compiler(s). Begin the entry with the author and title of the essay, normally enclosing the title in quotation marks rather than italicizing it.


Shohat, Ella and TobertStam. “Narrativizing Visual Culture: Towards a Polycentric Aesthetics.” The Visual Culture Reader. Ed. Nicholas Mirzoeff. London and New York: Routledge, 1998, 27-49.


An article in a periodical or magazine

The entry for an article in a periodical, like that for a book, has three main divisions: Author’s name, “Title of the article.” Publication information.


Goldberger, Paul, “High-Tech Emporiums: Prada and Toys R Us Have Much in Common.” The New Yorker, 25 March 2002: 100-101.


An article in an online periodical

The entry for an online article has the date that you accessed it, and the article’s URL. Use “Author Unknown” and n.d. (for no date) if this information is not available.


Press, Joy. “Hunks and Has-Beens: Reality TV-Pop Thrills at Human Amusement Parks.” The Village Voice, January 15-21, 2003.


your annotated bibliography should include
Your Annotated Bibliography should include:
  • TEXT

Waite, Linda J., Frances KobrinGoldscheider, and Christina Witsberger. "Nonfamily Living andthe Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review 51.4 (1986): 541-554. Print.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.